Mar 30, 2008

What a week

Been a bit of and emotional, but good week. Well other than the fact that I've been terribly sick again. I thought I was finally feeling better and then a week ago I caught another cold from my Granddaughter. I ended up at the Dr and on Antibiotics this past Wednesday. Hopefully now I'm on the mend.

In the last few weeks I've narrowed the field way down about who knows about my transition. So far, so good. I could not ask for been friends and family than the people I've chosen to surround myself with over the years. Not one person has treated me poorly or walked away and I've been left terribly humbled by the experience.

When I started I was told by the counselor to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Not that it was expected that people would all suddenly turn their backs on me. Sadly this is more common with trans people attempting gender change. People i know and have talked too have almost all lost people close to them in their lives. At times I feel a bit guilty not having this problem. I cannot understand how someone can turn their backs on someone they love.

I'd been thinking about my brothers and sisters for a long time during this change. I'd often believed they not only wouldn't accept it but I'd probably never be able to be part of the family again. This past week that was put to the test.

I'd noticed my big sister had signed up on myspace. She was listed as a member on my sister in laws (younger brothers wife) MySpace page. I had not talked to my sister in a while and had been thinking about her a lot when I noticed this and I decided to take a chance and add her to my friends list. Over the next week as we talked a bit she mentioned wanting to talk and such, this was when I needed to come clean.

I explained to her that I needed to be upfront with her so she wouldn't be shocked over the changes I've been through since she last saw me. She seemed to take it very well and explained that she didn't understand it, she loved me and wanted to support me. This was one of the biggest weights to have been lifted of my shoulders.

My family is pretty spread out between 2 coasts. I have 1 older brother, 3 older sisters here form my dads first marriage. I have two younger brother on the opposing coast from his third marriage. Me, I grew up as an only child from the middle marriage not really knowing any of my siblings other than my older brother.

When I met my sister "T" we hit it off instantly. I was about 17 and we had a lot of similarities between us. She always made it a point to show me she loved me and worried to the point that even when my mom threw me out, she took me in. Something that I've always been grateful for but probably never expressed what it meant to me. As you can probably guess, if I had never been able to see her again because of this, I knew it would hurt.

T and I were close for a while and we always enjoyed being around each other. One of the things she mentioned to me was how she really missed having me to talk too. I'd finally come to the conclusion from conversations with other girls I knew that this comfort had to be rooted in my "female gender identity"

Tonight after dinner I signed onto my Myspace account to see an inbox message from my sister "T" with the simple subject line "Hey!" My mind started to race wondering what might be up, I opened the message. Inside the body of the message was something that I not only never expected, it nearly brought me to tears.

"I want to get to know my sister"

Acceptance is something we all want, it's something we all need in life. To not only get acceptance but be brought into the fold in such a loving manner blew me away. I'm so sorry that I hid this from her for so long. Not because of my being ashamed, but because I feel like we've missed out on so much assuming the brother/sister relationship we had. I only hope that we can grow into the sisters relationship that I had always hoped for.

Last night we had some very dear friends over. They are the people referred too in the inadvertently outed blog. this would be the first time they would see me in a more vulnerable light. I had thought all day about how I should present myself to not only make them comfortable, but keep me comfortable. I finally decided that it was best if they saw me for who I am instead of who I am not and I dressed normally (ie girls clothes)

We had an awesome night. Laughed about old times, friends, family, went out to dinner and just had fun. To say I've missed them being in our lives an understatement. On the way out I was given a hug by each of them and I was told how beautiful I was. Again very very touching and emotional for me.

Recently another old friend of ours had been talking to me on Myspace and mentioned that she would like all of us to get together (all the old highschool friends. At this point I thought it would be wise to let her in on my new life.

Always being taught in counseling prepare for the worst, hope for the best again I prepared for the sky to fall and again it didn't happen. She was not only supportive but terribly sweet about it. After I shared this blog with her and some pictures she told me how pretty she thought I was in the picture with my daughter. I know this week she has been so interested in learning more about this that she took the time to read my entire blog. What a sweetheart she is and I cannot wait to see her.

Over the last few months my local paper has been running a series once a month on the TG population in NH. Today was one of the day's it has been run. I'll add some links at the end. Next time will be an interview with my Dr which is way cool because she is Trans herself and a well known activist in NH for trans rights.

Well off for now, I could talk all night but I don't wanna bore anyone ..


Mar 27, 2008

Tough one to grasp

There’s been a story that’s all over the AP over the last few days that is drawing a flurry of criticism. It’s about a FtM Transman that transitioned and now because his wife is unable to conceive, he is now pregnant himself. I’ve been avoiding discussing this story because I’m not really sure how I feel about it and to some degree I find myself being a hypocrite. The story is here ..

I think for me, my hypocrisy is twofold and it is something that is really eating me up inside. Lets face it being trans myself I understand the obstacles we face. But my bias isn’t based in typical ignorance and I’ve yet to form a full judgement of the situation. I don’t know what I would do given the same set of circumstance. So here’s my issues …

1) How this affect the TG community as a whole. It’s painfully obvious that conservatives are not only going to run with this story, but they are going to be nasty about it. My Beaty will be referred to as a “Female masquerading as a man” by people who have total ignorance of G.I.D. The problem on my opinion comes in not what Mr Beaty’s needs are but the fact that it does the TG community a PR disservice. It will lump all of us into one person’s story and give attention that at this point in our game isn’t needed. It sets us back politically. I understand the need to support each other and I don’t discount it. I am however concerned of the damage that it will do.

2) In my own transition the one thing I understood was that it was the difference in my body and mind that was creating me issues. I needed to make both things match in order to feel right and then I needed to be accepted for that. The last thing I wanted was to identify with anything from my male self and that was what was doing the damage to me.

I guess it is hard for me to understand how someone can transition from Female to Male and yet be emotionally capable of carrying a child. Something that is one of the most deep rooted of Female things. It would seem that if it were me, I would want to be as far away from what causes me pain as possible and by embracing something like childbirth it has to make me wonder to what degree Mr Beaty’s Gender Dysphoria went. I understand we all have various stages of GID, but this seems like an extreme to me.

3)Lastly I’m curious if the health implications of the baby were researched before conception took place. What’s the possibility of damage or long term diseases after 10 years of testosterone damage? Does it open up the possibility of cancers? Brain development issues?

I do not and will never judge anyone based on how they feel. My bias is based more on the broader issue than this one issue and it bothers me to think after all the forward movement we have had this past 2 years that this one thing could set us back a bit

Sometimes it is tough to have balance in controversial things such as this and it is hard to be totally unbiased when there are so many smaller issues created from the larger one. It’s much bigger than any of us …

Mar 24, 2008

Being positive and paying it forward

When I first started talking to Annah Moore about transition the first thing that struck me was how positive a woman she was. This was a woman who overcame a major issue in her life that many of us are fearful of and yet, she carried herself with pride and dignity. It was this spark and her encouraging words that gave me the strength to step out of my safety net, out of my misery and finally start to heal the inner soul.

Many of us in life that deal with trans sexuality live as very negative people. We feel jaded for who we are and the fact that society deems us mentally disturbed.We hide our true selves in an effort to fit into the box that society tells us to adhere too.

For me the change has been awesome and the inspiration from my dear sister gave me the same determination to carry myself with pride, educate others and not feel like I needed to hide what I was dealing with. While I am not at the same level of acceptance of my dear sister Annah, I am well on my way.

Recently I wrote a blog about being mistakenly outed. It turned out to be a good thing for me, but when it happened I was never worried. It wasn't because I was afraid of losing my friends, it was because I'd come to the conclusion that I was no longer ashamed of who I was but I am very proud of who I am becoming.

Paying positive energy forward is a simple premise, Annah payed it forward and I learned from her lead. Hopefully I will be able to pay it forward in my journey and to some degree I already have.

When my friend learned of my plight and we discussed it on the phone one of the issue that came out of it was that a very old friend of theirs was dealing with the same thing. They hadn't seen this person in years and told me they missed him (He's F2M) but they weren't supposed to know about his transition.

She explained that back over the holidays after missing this person they sent him an xmas card in hopes that he would surface but she sent it to his old pre transition name because they weren't supposed to know about it. I explained to my friend that even though they weren't supposed to know, it would make this person feel accepted if they took the reigns and showed that they were cool with it by using his male name.

After getting off the phone my friend thought about what I had said and decided to pick up the phone and call their old friend. To say I am proud of her for doing this is an understatement because she has now paid positive energy forward from me. There is no greater gift in transition than being accepted for our true selves

this past week or so has been very emotional for me (in a good way)

I've come out to some friends.
I've contact my sister who I hadn't seen in a long time and told her
I notified HR at work of my intention to get my name changed in the near future ..

It's been an incredible 5-6 days for me because I think I am finally hitting that "I don't care what others think routine"

It doesn't matter where you are in life if you can be positive and happy please pay it forward as much as possible. Changing someone else's direction can do wonders for them and it makes you happy in the process ...


Mar 20, 2008

Inadverdently being outed

I received a phone call form my daughter last night. She called because she missed us and wanted to get together which was nice to hear. It seems like forever since we’ve had any time with her or my granddaughter and I miss them both something terrible. So the plan is for them to come over tonight, grab dinner and hopefully do some shoe shopping.

In the process of the conversation last night she seemed very nervous and then it finally came out. She had bumped into her godmother is a very old dear friends of mine from high school. During the course of the conversation Jess brought up my transition assuming at this point that they had known and when she found out they didn’t, she panicked.

I assured her it was no big deal, it had to happen anyway and quite honestly, I’m just not ashamed of what I’m doing and who I am. It’s nice to be that at ease with it now, just 2 short years ago that would have created total panic on my part. Now it’s just someone else I don’t have to tell on my own.

After I got off the phone with my daughter I proceeded to call my friend. When she answered the phone I broke the ice with “So, heard any good rumors lately?” We had a good conversation and she not only assured me that nothing changes with them, but they wished I had confided in them about it years ago so they could have been there for me. To say I’m deeply touched by this would be a total understatement.

One of the questions she asked of me was one that I’d never received before and yet it was a very obvious question. Seeing the positive changes in me and how I feel, am I sorry I wasn’t able to do this when I was younger. This answer is a real tough one to have to give.

On one hand I do wish I could have taken care of this at a young age. It was tough growing up and not understanding my inner feelings but most of all everything that I really missed out on that most young girls have. I was on the outside looking in feeling like I was anything but normal and having poor self esteem issues because of it. Back in my younger days I had no confidence in myself, I was too busy masking my secret from the world. If I could have lived with that sense of inner peace then maybe I would have been a bit better adjusted.

To answer the other side of the coin actually presents another question in itself. Is it worth giving up the family I have for that first 20 years of being true to myself. The fact is that if I had to do this all over again, I’d live the same life because if it weren’t for the choices I’d made I would never have met my Dee and certainly never have my daughter. I cannot imagine not having either person in my life, they mean way too much to me. While it was hard for me to come to grips with who I was, I am happy with who I am becoming, which wouldn’t be possible without the love of these 2 people.

I’ve come to deeply appreciate my friends, I’ve been blessed with some of the most caring friends anyone could ask for. Most of all I am overwhelmed at their desire for me to be comfortable with myself. They do their best to keep things as normal as possible for me. How could I ask for anything more …


Mar 19, 2008

Real ID

If you’re not aware the federal government has enacted law requiring states to store personal information and make it readily available through a bar code on your driver license. In essence what they are doing is requiring us to have a federal identification card so we can be monitored for terrorism. From the day 9-11 happened until now I’ve stood on one basic premise. Giving up personal liberties and freedom should never be impeded by the need to be secure. In other words, the government should not be allowed to treat innocent Americans as criminals without just cause.

With the erosion of personal freedoms and things being suspended like Habeas Corpus Americans have taken a step backwards in our personal freedoms. Things like the patriot act have eroded the very core of what this country was founded on. I am of the strong belief that every right we posses and lose is a right that we will never see again. More and more control from big brother in the name of security isn’t necessarily a good thing.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

~Benjamin Franklin~

So here we are almost 6 years after the fact and now to move from state to state we need federally approved identification. Is this not erosion of our freedoms as Americans? Is this not something that we despise in countries that encourage communism?

Controlled movement.

One of the real issues with Real ID and how it relates to Trans people is that it really opens us up to more scrutiny in explaining who we are. Not all states are equal when it comes to how the DMV handles changes from one gender to another. For instance in NH you need to have completed surgeries and letters before you can change your gender marker yet in the state of Washington all you need is to be in process of being treated for Gender Identity. So it seems a bit unfair in how this information can be shared or even used.

One thing I’ve always loved about NH is the notion that we are better to govern ourselves than the Federal Government is. Time after time NH has turned its nose up at federal laws in favor of state mandates and held true to the state motto of "Live free or die" We have no seatbelt law, no helmet law, no permit required to own a gun (with a background check) no sales tax, no income tax and many other things that the Federal Government has tried to force on us. When it cam to real id NH again bucked the system and passed a law forbidding us to be involved.

While it is cool to be as free as this it has its drawbacks regarding this new law. Now when I travel I am subject to more scrutiny, something that will cause issues because my ID doesn’t match who I am anymore. This in itself means I am subject to be searched every time I travel. In order for me to avoid this it means I will need a passport just to board a plane to move from state to state, how un-American is that?

What a pain in the ass under the guise of being safe …


Mar 17, 2008

Rum and Coke please

I know it shouldn’t be a big deal and for most people maybe it seems insignificant, but for me it’s always nice to be maamed, she, her or simply ladies when we are out and about. It makes me feel good to know that I'm finally just being instead of struggling with who I am.

While things aren’t fully where they need to be, they are definitely moving in positive directions. I’m slowly getting more comfortable being open and a bit exposed emotionally. I’ve taken small everyday steps to break out of the shell I’ve been living in. Basically my normal everyday attire now is simple ..Nice Jeans, a girls T-shirt and a normal bra. I say normal because for a long time now I’ve been depending on a sports bra to hide the girls. I’m not wearing anything that clearly defines male or female visually so it’s always nice when under the plainest of circumstances I hear the proper pronouns because I’m just being natural

Saturday night Dee decided she wanted to do something a little different. Normally on weekends we try and grab a bite to eat out and we struggle with where we want to go. This weekend Dee said she just simply wanted "Pub Grub"

For those who aren’t aware, pub grub is simply "bar food" or "comfort food". Not terribly healthy but every once in a while you have to let loose. We decided to go to one of our favorite local places called "The Common Man". The Common Man near us is set in an old New England Barn that still has that old barn charm but it is a nice restaurant with a huge fireplace.

Upstairs is a loft overlooking the restaurant in a nice atmosphere that has a bar, tables and even couches to sit and enjoy a few drinks, appetizers or even a meal in. One of Dee’s favorite comfort foods that they serve is a Mac-N-Cheese pizza. Yeah yeah sounds crazy but it is actually really good!

When we sat down we got the usually how are you tonight ladies can I get you some drinks? Dee immediately honed in on a pomegranate martini that she has been dying to try for some time. For me it was a matter of being undecided.

Hormones have changed me immensely, even to the point that beer makes me feel crappy now. I used to love full-bodied beers and I guess I still do, I just have to ask myself if it is work not feeling well afterwards. So by default I generally don’t drink much anymore.

So as the waitress walked back with Dee’s martini I decided I would default to an old stand by and I asked the waitress for a Capt and Diet coke. The waitress smiled at me and responded with something really cool~ "Oh a girl after my own heart"

Now I know this seems minute and no big deal but for whatever reason it just made my night and stuck me in a positive way. Sometimes it is funny that we see those moments in something that almost seems meaningless, but it’s nice to be able to savor those times …


Mar 13, 2008

More baby steps

Yesterday was a big step for me, it was one of those very tiny steps that mean nothing by themselves but becomes the catalyst for something much bigger. Yesterday I went to the NH State website looking for the forms for a legal name change. I filled the paperwork out and printed it up. Yeah yeah it means very little in itself but as part of a bigger process that was a huge step for me. It’s the beginning of letting go of my safety blanket.

I know it’s hard to view the old me as anything but safe. We tend to get caught up as part of the way we define ourselves. That is to say that I allowed people to see Kevin for so many years. I build relationships as Kevin, I built a career as Kevin, I built my talent around Kevin and my financial stability. Every aspect of my life was built around someone who was for the most part me, but not a completely bare me. I only allowed people to see part of a person and even at that I don’t believe that person was 100% genuine all the time.

In my counseling session last night I told my counselor I needed my referral letter for name change as well. I guess as nervous as I am about letting go of the old and embracing the new I am finally seeing it is just time. It’s time to let go of the safe feeling of someone who really doesn’t exist in the same form any longer. Most of all it is just time to be me and concentrate on making my journey secondary to who I am, learning to just "be" instead of being with a condition attached.

So, effective April 2nd I will officially have my referral letter for name change and I will submit it for a court date shortly after (I need to hold myself accountable for that) Hopefully before summer I will be legally Karyn and moving forward with the final stages of my journey …
Last night we were discussing where I’m at and should be going and it at times ends up being cause for reflection. A good counselor will never tell you what you have too do but what they do is lead you through options and allow you to make the choices that are best for you. They cannot make those suggestions without you fitting the criteria for whatever it is to begin with. So for the first time last night I asked her how she thought I fit into this whole thing.

Anne sat back in her chair trying to ascertain the best possible answer for the question, simply because no two people are alike in this path. We all have similar stories but at the end of the day we determine the best course of action based on how things affect us. Her response was pretty cool and made a lot of sense, she simple told me that I was a "normal" transsexual. (Normal, whatever that may be) A "normal" transsexual is basically the non sensationalized transsexual. It’s the Transsexual that is just trying to live a normal existence void of the freakish stereotypes that society has conjured up because of TV.

She told me that from a textbook standpoint that I do fit the parameters for care (Textbook Transsexual). It isn’t something I didn’t already know, I did in my heart. I guess it is just a little bit of validation that I really don’t need to be happy. I look back on this and I used to think "why me" and yet some how I’ve grown enough now to simply be happy to be me. I wouldn’t change this journey for anything, it’s made me a much stronger person …

A much stronger woman .. .


Mar 10, 2008

New Week (GMA and more)

New workweek, the sun is shining bright and the flu that I had is on the mend. About all I’m left with at this point is an annoying cough and a tiny bit of feeling weak. I’ll take that 10 fold over how I felt last week. On Friday Dee and I had an appointment for our hair and eyebrows which needed to be taken care of badly. The funny thing for me is that this has become something I’ve grown to look forward too now and I’m much more focused on feeling off when I go a week or two over our usual 6 week interval.

Something slightly different came out of this appointment this time. The girl who cuts my hair is a trained hair and makeup specialist who is also a very good friend of my daughter. She’s a sweet girl who was very open to helping me through this whole journey. One thing we hadn’t discussed as of yet was how I would be addressed by her. Generally being a people pleaser I tend not to complain about how I’m addressed even if it bothers me, I simply hate making other people feel uncomfortable and I’m always very mindful of their feelings. (I’ve been told this is a very female driven trait)

When it was my turn I had been bent over in the sink as she washed and conditioned my hair for a few minutes when she leaned in and asked me "Do you want me to refer to you as he or she". My heart welled up a bit when I heard this as it is one of the most accepting feelings we can get from people . She admitted that she was going to refer to me in female pronouns but she didn’t know if it would make me uncomfortable. I myself had been trying to figure out how to breech the subject because I cringe whenever I am referred to as He, Him , the Men or anything even slightly male. .. Courtney, you’re a sweetheart.

This past week saw several different Trans stories hit the media. One that seems to be hitting main stream America more and now is on the cusp of Massachusetts politics. Gender Identity protections were discussed and a bill is being presented to protect people of Gender Variance. Like other states it has its share of opposing views claiming we don’t belong in the ladies room. This bill has the strong backing of all of the Massachusett heavy hitting politicians. What works out good for me is that originally being from the bay state and still working there these protections will be extended to me while I am in state. While my employer is progressive on this front additional protections cant hurt

Next up, on Nightline and Good Morning America last week there was a profiled story about a girl named Megan Wallent who works for Microsoft and transitioned on the job. Megan is married to a wonderfully supportive wife and has 3 children. I love seeing positive stories like this to show that we are not only down to earth everyday people, but this path doesn’t have to leave devastation behind us. With that said I did become very troubled by some of the comments on the GMA website by people claiming that Megan was being selfish by doing this to her family and if she knew this why did she ever get married.

This seems to be a common word thrown at us constantly by people who either do not understand gender identity disorder or even then need for transition. Let look at the definition of selfish for a moment and discuss this.

self·ish / Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[sel-fish] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective
Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
Characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

I do suppose by the barest definition of the word this act could be construed as selfish but wouldn’t this have to work in reverse as well? Wouldn’t the people who were preventing transition be considered selfish for not wanting someone to live their life true to themselves? Generally people who have GID that transition do so out of the need for survival, the need to feel right about themselves. All too often because of societies inability to either accept or even treat issues such as this without negative judgement forces Trans people to feel the only way out is suicide. Suicide as I’ve heard from so many people is in itself a selfish act because it robs people of loved ones.

So which is more important? Be selfish and take care of ourselves or kill ourselves and be selfish? Honestly I’d rather learn to be a bit selfish and be here to see my grandchildren grow than to take my life and have people wonder why.

The bottom line in marriage and transition is that the only people who can determine the selfish act is the spouse. People throw stones wondering why we marry is we know that we have the issues. Back when I was young there wasn’t much information available to even understand GID let alone the lack of societies acceptance on the matter. So we try to live with the cards we are dealt all the while living in self hatred over how we feel. A common feeling among most of us is that love will cure us, heck I thought it was all I needed. How wrong I turned out being ..

Times have changed, GID is not only becoming more studied but educated information is readily available and in this our children if truly allowed to deal with it young will not being the baggage into relationships. The key is education and treatment at it earliest stages. Once this is achieved we can focus on making people feel right and lead more satisfying lives.

I’ve been following Megan’s story and I have to admit, it’s kind of cool. She's married like me with an incredibly supportive family and friends and she is originally form Boston making her a Red Sox fan. She can’t be all bad ..

If you want to read more about Megan her blog addy is

Her GMA/Nightline story is here

Hope your week starts of kick ass .. mine is for sure …

Mar 5, 2008

Just 3 words

The Flu Sucks!